Former Italian international Blasi joins Chennaiyin FC

Chennai, Aug 17 (IANS) Former Italian international Manuele Blasi will appear for Chennaiyin FC in the second edition of the Indian Super League.

The 35-year-old who has been playing for AS Varese 1910 since 2013, joins Chennaiyin after the expiry of his contract at the Serie B club.

The central midfielder came through the AS Roma youth system and made his Serie A debut for the Italian giants 15 years ago. After that he had a spell at Perugia before moving to Juventus in 2002.

While at Juventus, Blasi made his senior international debut in a friendly against Iceland in 2004 and also played in the 2005-06 UEFA Champions League. The midfielder went on to make eight appearances for the Azzurri.

He had earlier represented his country at various age-group tournaments including the U-21 European Championships in 2002 where Italy lost to eventual champions Czech Republic in the semi-finals.

During his Juventus spell, Blasi had loan stints at Perugia, Parma and Fiorentina before joining Napoli permanently in 2007. Blasi spent four seasons at Napoli which included a year out on loan at Palermo.

After his departure from Napoli in 2011, Blasi continued to play in the Serie A with spells at Parma, Lecce and Pescara. In 2013 he joined Serie B club Varese and spent two seasons there.

“We are very happy that Manuele has signed for our club. Manuele is a player I know very well, having played with him as well as in the Italian national team. He has played for some of the biggest clubs of Italy and in high profile matches for clubs and country,” Chennaiyin FC manager Marco Materazzi said in a statement.

“He will bring plenty of quality and experience to our team. He has all the attributes of a top central midfielder and that is exactly what we were looking for. I am sure the younger players in the team, especially the Indians will get to learn a lot from him and he will definitely make a big difference on the pitch individually also,” he said.

Blasi, on his part, added,”Following a discussion with Marco about the club and league in general, it didn’t take me long to make my decision. Marco told me about the fantastic environment he gets to work at Chennayin FC with full support from the owners, management and of course the supporters.”

“I am very excited about this venture at this stage of my career. I will try to help the rest of the team with my experience and hopefully we will have a successful season together.”

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